Sunday, August 3, 2014

This Fair City of Copenhagen

We couldn't really say we lived in Denmark for an entire summer and didn't even make time to pay a visit to the nation's capitol, so after a few days of resting up from our visit to Greece, we took a bus/ferry combo from Aarhus over to the island of Zealand, where Copenhagen perches on the eastern coast.  While Suresh gave a talk and visited colleagues at the university on our first day, I took the kids to the hands-on science museum, the Experimentarium. Finding the place was a little difficult at first, because the Experiementarium is currently situated in temporary housing while its actual home is being rebuilt, and no local Danes seemed to know quite where it was. Google maps was equally confused due to the museum's recent move. Finally, we managed to find the place and we were very glad we did.  This kids had a marvelous time.  There were several participatoruy exhibits featuring many Olympic sports in which Scandanavian countries traditionally excel, such as skiing, bobsled racing, and curling. They had a petting pool in which some crabs and flounder that had been pulled out of the Øresund that day could be touched. We also enjoyed all the physics experiments, gigantic bubbles and optical illusions they had to offer.

He managed to encase Rohan in one of these
Aditya becomes New Nordic cuisine

Pineapple cherries and rips
On our second day, we took advantage of the fact that our hotel was dangerously close (dangerous to our waistlines, of course!) to the market and eateries of Torvehallerne, a square full of farmers' market stalls and homemade goodies. A cafe with delicious, crispy croissants and an adjoining bakery featuring extra large kanelsnegl (cinnamon rolls, literally "cinnamon snails") served us well for breakfast, but the smørrebrød we had for lunch the following day really stole the show. YUM!
Fresh pasta sample, handed to the boys to see and feel
So many smørrebrød, so little time *sigh*

We then explored to botanical gardens on our way to the Rosenberg Slot, to check out the royal treasury.

At the Rosenborg Slot, were amazed at how close a view of the royal crowns we could get. They are accessible by entering an underground vault using steps outside the castle, which is carefully guarded by a security guard and cameras.

Rosenberg Slot, no longer serving as a residence for the royal family,
now serves as a museum for royal treasures

Inlaid dresser drawer

System of weights, an example of how science was also treasured

The nifty Crown of Christian IV weighs a cool 6.4 lbs

They didn't let us try these on for size. Dang.

The following day, we climbed the 400 steps of the spiral stairs of Vor Frelsers Kirke in the south quarter of Copenhagen. It was dizzying near the top, since the spiral winds tighter and tighter as you near the pinnacle, but the views of the city are most rewarding.


Since we were in the area, we also visited Christiania, a "free state," started by squatters in 1971. Residents proudly showed us their flag (a yellow rectangle with three red dots across its length) and homemade crafts which they sell in numerous stalls and shops. No photographs were allowed in the place's Green Light District, because "sale of marijuana is still illegal." Did we see anything of the sort going on?  All I can say is what goes on in Christiania, stays in Christiania.

To round off our visit, we took a canal tour of the city and got to see the back of the Little Mermaid, as well as landmark buildings that mark this city for what it is: the pulse and pacesetter for this country we've been lucky enough to call home for the past three months.

Opera House

Sculptures along the canal

Amalienborg Slot

Skuespilhuset, Royal Danish Playhouse

Lovely architecture along the canal

Thordvaldsens Museum

Twisted dragon tails form the tower of the Chamber of Commerce

Windmills attest to Copenhagen's plans to be the world's first carbon neutral capital in 2025, and with these turbines
 and its bicycling culture, it is well on its way to this goal.  GO COPENHAGEN!
(source: How to be Danish by Patrick Kingsley)

Hej, Lille Havfrue!

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